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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Mahmood Al Zarooni banned for eight years‏

Al Zarooni 615 X 400
Photo: Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)
Seventy-two hours after the news shook the very foundations of British Horse Racing, the trials and tribulations of the Mahmood Al Zarooni case have ended with the disqualification of the Godolphin trainer for a period of eight years for doping offences.

A ban which will send shockwaves across all forms of horse racing across the globe, it is one which the British Horse Racing Authority had to impose, in their belief, to retain the integrity of British horse racing.

At 14:30 (GMT), Mahmood Al Zarooni and Godolphin's Racing Manager, Simon Crisford, entered the Brisith Horse Racing headquarters to hear the fate of both the trainer and the horses whom were entwined within this unprecedented scandal. At 18:50 (GMT), the British Horse Racing Authority announced that the three-member panel had come to their verdict, coming to a decision to disqualify Mahmood Al Zarooni from training for a period of eight years. 

For the horses, a ban of six months has been imposed on all eleven horses that have tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid substances, a ban which also includes four further horses - Comitas, Sashiko, Vacationer and Tearless - which Mr Al Zarooni confirmed he had also administered substances to.

A filly that had the world at her feet, the unbeaten Certify becomes the most high profile horse affected by this suspension, a suspension which will now ensure she misses her entire Classic-season campaign. A filly by Elusive Quality whom had reportedly wintered well, hopes were high for Certify to claim further Classic glory for Godolphin at Newmarket in the English 1,000 Guineas. Instead, in ten days time Certify will be denied her chance to propel to the top of the Classic crop - denied not out of choice, but by the actions of others. 

"The length of suspension reflects the period beyond which the BHA is confident that the horses in question can have derived no performance related benefit" said the BHA's director of raceday regulations, Jamie Stier.

"The first and immediate priority was to establish the facts as to how the prohibited substances came to be present in the horses' samples." said Paul Bittar - Chief Executive of the BHA, "Secondly, in view of the potential repercussions for the sport and the profile of the races for which some of the horses held entries, it was in the public's interest, as well as that of the BHA and Godolphin, to progress the disciplinary procedures as quickly as possible."

"The BHA's investigation has established that the substances in question were administered on instruction of Mahmood Al Zarooni. The full details of this will be formally addressed in the Disciplinary Panel's findings. We believe that the eight year disqualification issued to Mahmood Al Zarooni, together with the six month racing restriction placed on the horses in question, will serve to reassure the public that use of performance-enhancing substances in British Racing will not be tolerated and that the sport has in place a robust and effective anti-doping programme."

As the news broke towards the beginning part of the week, Sheikh Mohammed has taken the decision to lockdown the stable of Mahmood Al Zarooni with immediate effect, enforcing that no horse would run from that yard until they had all been routine dope tested and until he was satisfied that the entire yard was completley clean. An announcement on the future of the Moulton Paddock Stables is expected in due course.

"This is an awful situation that Godolphin has found themselves in. Mr Al Zarooni acted with awful recklessness and caused tremendous damage, not only to Godolphin and British racing." Said Godolphin's Racing Manager, Simon Crisford, "I think it will take a very long time for Godolphin to regain the trust of the British public. We're shocked and completley outraged by the actions taken."

An investigation which resulted in Mahmood Al Zarooni naming three further individuals who are alleged to have been involved in the administering of prohibited substances, two employees of his stable along with one veterinary assistant, Crisford was clear in the post-hearing press conference that the veterinary asisstant has not broken any rules because he was 'unaware what substance he was administering.' 

 

 

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Older Comments about Mahmood Al Zarooni banned for eight years‏...

It must be very difficult to have suffered such enormous betrayal at the hands of those he trusted the most. Hopefully, Sheikh Mo will stay the course and do what is necessary to return his stable to prominence. My thought is, if any good comes from this tragedy, it could be that Godolphin will lead the charge to ensure this never happens again, and by example, his yard will be the cleanest in the sport. I think he is an honorable man and that he will step up to this challenge.
Can you imagine that happening here, racing and sales would come to a complete halt!
GOOD some people recognize the danger to the integrity of an already crippled public view of the game. IF MORE was done the message might get across
Now if only the industry in the U.S. could unify, perhaps sanctions such as this would be a deterrent to any U.S.-based trainers with like minds.
I can see it now, Al and R. Dutrow selling shish-kabobs to the construction workers on the corner of Market and 3rd Street in their gold plated food truck. :P
And the ruling came very quickly.
Where does Al Zarooni go to get a job with this on his resume! Maybe he should dust off his "will work for food" sign! This is truly sad and a tragedy of enormous proportions. A lovely filly, Certify, has her career trashed at the hands of an arrogant and stupid man. What is it they say about "Power": Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely! Obviously there were no backup procedures in the Godolphin operation to allow this to occur. And it is beyond the pale that a vet assistant would administer any drug to an animal that he didn't know what it was!
Fully Deserved!!.
Eight years ... That's a pretty big spanking.